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Financial Literacy in Public Libraries: A Guide for Building Collections: Introduction

This guide was created by the ALA Office of Research & Evaluation, and funded by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. [New books added 4/4/2022

Defintion of Personal Finance Capability

“Financial capability is the capacity, based on knowledge, skills, and access, to manage financial resources prudently and effectively. Efforts to improve financial capability, which should be based on evidence of effectiveness, empower individuals to make informed choices, plan and set goals, avoid pitfalls, know where to seek help, and take other actions to better their present and long-term financial well-being”[1]

[1] Executive order--establishing the president’s advisory council on financial capability for Young Americans. (2013, June 25). Retrieved August 8, 2016, from


The following personal finance subject areas are included in this guide:

  • Banking
  • Budgeting
  • Consumer Protection and Fraud Prevention
  • Credit and Debt
  • Estate Planning
  • Family Finance
  • Financial Literacy for Children
  • Financing College
  • General Personal Financial Management
  • Identity Theft
  • Insurance
  • Investing
  • Managing Financial Hardship
  • Real Estate
  • Retirement
  • Saving and Spending
  • Taxes
  • Teen Finance

Call Numbers

Dewey Decimal Classification ranges: 332.024 – 640.73

Library of Congress Call Range: HG -TX

SPOTLIGHT: Thinking Money for All Kids released!

ALA, in collaboration with the FINRA Foundation releases new resource.

ALA, in collaboration with the FINRA Investor Education Foundation (FINRA Foundation), has released Thinking Money for All Kids: Diverse and Inclusive Reads to Teach Young People about Money, a free resource for library workers. Available now as a PDF download, the guide highlights 40 recommended titles selected by a team of librarian advisors. The guide was developed to eschew stereotypes and embrace diversity in telling stories and sharing skills related to personal finance and financial capability for children. 

The guide also includes sections on how to build a diverse financial education collection, program ideas, resources, and tips. 


LibGuide Selection Criteria

This guide lists materials and resources about personal finance suitable for public libraries. The guide helps to address gaps within the personal finance collections of public libraries and, ultimately, enhance financial capability in the community.

The guide lists resources that are pertinent to personal finance in the United States. In addition, this guide identifies materials and resources appropriate for children, teen, adult, and senior audiences. Materials are limited to those available in English and with publication dates ranging from 2011 to present. The guide gives preference to government and nonprofit sources of information. The following formats are included: books, eBooks, audio books, databases, and websites. Books were selected based on WorldCat holdings, reviews, authority and date of publication, and cost. eBooks and audio books were selected on the same criteria as print books. Websites were picked based on content clarity for consumers. Magazines were selected based on detail to subject area, and authority. Databases were selected based on previous usage and knowledge.

Highly technical materials, scholarly studies, self-published materials and materials focusing on entrepreneurship and small business development are not covered by this guide. 

LibGuide Editor, Financial Literacy in Public Libraries